Donald Whytock on 5 Mar 2002 07:46:08 -0000

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spoon-business: Nomilogue #2

{{ _How Far Will a Good Name and a Pretty Face Take You?_


It was a dark and stormy night.

No, really.  It was.

A hurricane was blowing through, a hundred miles off the coast.  Our area wasn't at risk, but it was sufficiently wet and miserable to make a fireside and a bottle of bourbon look terribly attractive.

The Old Man was at the tavern when I came in that evening.  He and a handful of drunken cronies were arguing about the value of respect.  Or, at least, he had been; his companions for the most part had run out of steam and descended into mumbling and bluster in the face of his energy.

I could have inserted myself into the crowd at the bar and gone unnoticed.  I didn't.  I circulated among the tables, saying hello to neighbors and associates from the lab, and the Old Man saw me and waved me over.  "You're the engineer.  Get over here and engine for me!"

The argument, it turned out, was about whether the respect one had from others actually affected their existence.  Half the participants were offering incoherent platitudes to support the idea ("Respect raises a man above others!"  "Respect makes you untouchable!") while the other half incoherently dissented ("Yer smashed!"  "Yer an idiot!"  "Yer head's up yer butt!").  I admit to having been initially persuaded by the latter half.

Meanwhile the Old Man sat and fumed at the level of intellect surrounding him.  He shoved at some of his companions, who obligingly fell over, and offered me a seat.  "Here, have one on me.  We're talking about respect, you see, or at least..."  He glared at the other drinkers. "...I am.  You ever notice, a man has respect, he doesn't seem as affected by things around him as the rest of us?"

I smiled and nodded for him to continue.  After all, he was buying.

"I mean it," he went on.  "Men with enough respect don't get stuck in crowds...crowds move for them.  They don't get stuck in lines...they keep winding up at the front.  They don't have problems with the's like the police can't touch them.  And do you know why?"

"Er...herd instinct?  Human nature recognizes alpha males?"

The Old Man shook his head. "It's because they're not all there.  Space bends around them and lets them slip through."

The worst part was, he didn't seem to be drunk.  He was drinking, but he had an intensity about him that seemed to burn through the bourbon.  I understood then why everyone else at the table was drunk: they had been matching him drink for drink, and his absurdities became easier to listen to as one fogged over.

"And it's not just respect," he continued. "Some people just have charm, and with a smile and a look they can get what they want.  Trouble is, you can't measure charm just by looking at's like those atom parts..." He prompted me with a wave of his hand.


"Right.  Can't see where they are...only where they've been."

He didn't remember what electrons were called, but he remembered their physical properties.  And still I couldn't tell if he was drunk.  I couldn't resist humoring him to see how far he was gone. "Well, if we regarded respect and charm as dimensions, people could get displaced in N-dimensional space while looking like they're holding still in our normal three...and in fact, if they can anchor themselves in other dimensions they might seem to displace themselves here.  That's why the charming and respected seem to be all over the place but no one ever sees them travel."

The time beyond that dissolved in whatever my glass held and was largely a blur.  The Old Man came up with more points and more examples, and I dutifully incorporated them into the model in between my drinks.  I don't even remember starting to isolate the control variables and building the equations; all I truly recall was a momentary burst of clarity, when everything but the paper in front of me was shrouded in fog, and the Old Man's eyes were burning twice as bright as before.

"Sum up for me what you've got," he commanded.


{{ _Dimensional Realms_

A Realm is a region of Dimensions Space within which at least all but three Dimensions are limited to specific ranges.

A Plane is a Realm within which at least all but two Dimensions are limited to specific ranges.

An Axis is a Realm within which all but one Dimension is limited to the range of -2 to 2.

A Player may inhabit multiple Realms simultaneously.  Two Players are considered to be in the same Realm if all but three of their positional Dimensions differ by no more than 5.

A Player is considered to have travelled between Realms if changes in eir Dimensions take em out of the range of one Realm and into the range of another.

Realms can be named.  The name of a Realm should be relevant to the ranges of the Dimensions that define it.



The Old Man paid for the drinks, and we left our now-snoring drinking companions behind.  The rain had stopped, leaving wet streets and wind blowing through trees and alleys.  The Old Man considered my notes and equations as he walked (and I stumbled) to my place.

"What's all this about players?" he asked.

"'S like a game, innit?" I managed.  "N-dim...menshonal hopscotch."

He nodded thoughtfully, and once or twice murmured, "hopscotch" as he thought.  We made it to my front door, and he glowered at me while I searched for my key and fumbled for the lock.

"Will you be coherent tomorrow?"


"I'll be back with this tomorrow, then.  I may have a proposal for you."  He paused as he turned to go. "I drink Laphroiag."

I don't know what I drink, I thought, as I made my way inside.  And when I woke up in the morning, thankfully in a chair, I realized I didn't even know what I drank.

(To be continued...)